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James Longenbach

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James Longenbach

James Longenbach is the author of five poetry collections: Earthling (W. W. Norton, 2017), The Iron Key (W. W. Norton, 2012), Draft of a Letter (University of Chicago Press,, 2007), Fleet River (University of Chicago Press, 2003), and Threshold (University of Chicago Press, 1998). Also a literary critic, he is the Joseph Henry Gilmore Professor of English at the University of Rochester. He lives in Rochester, New York. 

by this poet

Because the most difficult part about making something, also the best,
Is existing in the middle,
Sustaining an act of radical imagination,
I simmered a broth: onion, lemon, a big handful of mint.
The phone rang. So with my left 
Hand I answered it,
Stars rising like something said, something never
To be forgotten, shining forever—look

How still they are.

                Blind hunter crawling
Toward sunrise, then healed. 

He opened his eyes to find her waiting

—Afraid—and together they traveled
Lightly: requiring nothing

But a sense
As an older man,
Graying, not stooped,
I saw the future:

Cold, tongue
Foam at the lips.
Excessive hope 

Seemed more
Than despair.
I ran great distances.
I stood in sunlight

Just to see my shadow,
Show it off.
For the first time I remember

My soul looked back.
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